Local couple wants custody | SteamboatToday.com

Local couple wants custody

Aunt, uncle want guardianship of 15-year-old murderer

A 15-year-old boy who opened fire in a crowded school hallway in 1999, killing a classmate, may be transferred to the guardianship of an aunt and uncle who live in Routt County.

Godelebo and Minerva Loya are seeking guardianship of their nephew, Victor Manuel Cordova Jr., who is now in the custody of the state of New Mexico

Last Friday, District Judge Paul McLimans heard the case on the guardianship, but continued the hearing to this Friday. He said more research must be done regarding jurisdiction of the case because Cordova remains committed by the state of New Mexico and is not present or living in Colorado.

Cordova pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of schoolmate Araceli Tena. Cordova shot the girl Nov. 19, 1999, in Deming Middle School. Court records show Cordova fired into a crowded school hallway with a .22-caliber pistol.

Under a 2000 plea agreement, Cordova also pleaded guilty to 10 other counts of aggravated assault with the .22-caliber pistol, including assaults on two police officers and three school employees.

The Loyas live in Routt County with their two sons, and the court documents state that if Cordova lived with them, guardianship would be required so he could attend school at Hayden High School.

Cordova’s father, Victor Manuel Cordova Sr., is a Mexican citizen and cannot relocate to the United States. His mother is deceased.

On Oct. 9, the Children’s Court in New Mexico ordered that Cordova be released from the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department if guardianship is granted no later than Dec. 19. If guardianship is not granted, Cordova’s custody with the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department would be extended a year.

At the Oct. 9 hearing, New Mexico District Judge V. Lee Vesely said the risk of placing Cordova at the Albuquerque Boys Reintegration Center posed a greater risk than releasing him to the Loyas.

Court documents show the Routt County Department of Human Resources objects to the guardianship. Assistant attorney for Routt County, Polly St. James, said more investigation is required.

St. James suggested by filing for guardianship, the Loyas are trying to circumvent interstate agreements between New Mexico and Colorado on the placement of children or juveniles.

She said the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children or the Interstate Compact on Juveniles states the receiving state should have an opportunity to approve the placement of the juvenile.

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